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Kendo and "real" sword fighting... is there a connection?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
    I think what most people think of as SCA is what those guys call the "heavies", the ones with the full metal gear and helmets. The ones I've seen around here aren't very good, I would love to see some of the ones that can actually fight.
    The problem is rhino hiding became commonplace. So the fights become about how much armor you could afford, how hard you could hit and what your pain tolerance was.

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    • #32
      I dunno about rhino-hiding, I'm just talking about some skill in fighting. The ones I've seen here just swing with their rattan and then block with the shield, swing/block, swing/block. It's like watching a cartoon fight, only in slow motion - they aren't exactly the most inspiring athletes. I try hard not to generalize from the local experience because I'm told that there are some superb fighters in places.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
        I dunno about rhino-hiding, I'm just talking about some skill in fighting. The ones I've seen here just swing with their rattan and then block with the shield, swing/block, swing/block. It's like watching a cartoon fight, only in slow motion - they aren't exactly the most inspiring athletes. I try hard not to generalize from the local experience because I'm told that there are some superb fighters in places.
        Yes I have seen that and I cannot imagine anything more boring to watch. In general SS vs SS is not that exciting even when well done, when poorly done its a real snooze. SS has its place and thats in shield walls.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Munnin
          Nerf sticks?!? Thats not the SCA I was in , the SCA I was in was about trying to realistically recreate historically accurate conditions. Limitations were primarily about safety and insurance costs. Nerf sticks are simply too light to be realistic.
          I'm sorry Munnin...I'm just totally setting myself up today.

          What they used is wooden weapons padded with foam insulation taped by duct tape.

          The weapons aren't as good as good as"these".

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          • #35
            Originally posted by DCPan
            I'm sorry Munnin...I'm just totally setting myself up today.

            What they used is wooden weapons padded with foam insulation taped by duct tape.

            The weapons aren't as good as good as"these".
            Ok, that I have done before, head shots allowed wimps need not apply.

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            • #36
              Thanks for the link though, those are very nice toys. I may have to pick some up just to see what they are like.

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              • #37
                Back to hitting the legs and below the belt parts, I agree that regulations do not allow them because of safety reasons.

                When i was practicing karatedo, my sensei told me not to hit the legs and target the joints in kumite even though we practice those moves.

                One of my senpai also told me that kendo regulations used to allow kicking and tripping the opponents when you get to tsubazerai. However, those moves seem to be "cheap shots" and do not promote the spirit of kendo.

                Of course, when you fight on the street or for your life, you have to use all resources that are available to you. Once my karatedo sensei asked us if we have to get in a fight while we are eating at a restaurant, what would we do? He told us that we should first throw our tray of food in the opponent face, then use the chair as the weapons. We should not stand up and rei like and be polite as we are in kumite.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
                  I'm an instructor. The stock answer given is that if you can hit any of the legal targets correctly, you can hit anywhere else. Someone who can hit doh (waist) can easily hit the thigh. The shin, which is protected by the naginata armour, is awkward with shinai. Knees and elbows are off-limits for safety reasons, plus they're hard to protect.
                  Thanks for this answer.

                  Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
                  Thrusts are only allowed to the neck because thrusts anywhere on the body are too easy to score with.
                  This is interesting considering the debate on the advantages of rapier type attacks vs those of the wide power cutting attack of katana.

                  Thanks for all the answers!

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                  • #39
                    Following on from what DCPan said about Kali/Arnis/Eskrima: I've joined the Eskrima club in my Uni and they do have full contact sparring. According to my teacher, the armour was built based on Kendo armour, even though it does cover more areas because you can attack pretty much anywhere on your opponent's body. But it's not full force, full force with the Arnis sticks would probably cause bone breaking at some point. You can also find Eskrima tournaments which allow you to perform anything like grappling and sweeps and taking your opponents weapons and beating him with it.

                    I've tried kendo against their 2 stick Arnis. Very hard to score a blow since they have so much flexibility in short range. Oh, and that thing you were talking about, full speed sparring? It's like that, very messy when they go close-range.

                    And I think Eskrima is very open as well, one of the days, the teacher fought against someone he asked to use a pole. Only way he could get in range to reach the guy was by throwing one stick at him, then bringing the pain.

                    It's nice to go to Eskrima, pick up some techniques and have fun in all out sparring. But I prefer kendo, more formalised, and easier to see when you're performing a proper attack.

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                    • #40
                      I think its important to remember each weapon is best in its time and place facing the armour it was designed to face. European weapons were duller and heaver designed to deal with european armour. As the Musket started to show up on the battle fields the amount of armour was reduced and the swords followed in style becoming back up weapons to the gun. No reasonable amount of armour could stop a 50 cal. ball round so people protected only critical areas with heavy plates to deflect off center shots. Eventually the battlefield has no armour and swords become ornamental or weapons to settle disputes of honour.

                      Kendo was developed to deal with the facts that ruled the Japanese's battlefield. To try and compare them directly with european weapons of a given period without any context starts with a false premise.

                      Its a reasonable assumption that the style of weapon and fighting is correct for a given period of history since if it was otherwise people tended to die quickly(see the lan of attack during the early period of W.W.I).

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by DarthMaul
                        1) Imagine that you are medical graduate and that you have spent your entire life preparing to help others. Never have you harmed anyone or resorted to physical violence. One day you find yourself a resident in a hospital in the center of the innner city. Forced to work 24 hour shifts with no sleep, under extreme mental and physical stress, you often leave the hospital and go home at around 2 am. Do you really think that you can negotiate your way out of a mugging or rape attempt? You WILL encounter violence in your life time, whether or not you are prepared is up to you.

                        2) It is almost comical that some practioners today look apon it in a light of "spirituality" or some long lost asian "religion".
                        1) Actually I didn't mean I'm such a good negotiator, nor that I look like someone to not trifle with (5'8' 70kg, not really what you would be scared of). What I ment was I seem to have really no clue if people when people are trying to pick a fight with me and my non-reaction seems to put those people of. example, three guys came up to me at a party and said something like I said something bad about there friend (not going to do the whole story), whole thing took fifhteen minutes. I got bored and said "well see you later", and turned around to my friend who saw the whole thing, he said "they were just looking to pick a fight" before that I didn't even realise that fact that was so plain obvious. Later that night I heard those guys just had grabed someone outside and attacked him, so guess my friend was right .

                        2) damn I just did it because I thaught it was fun

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                        • #42
                          One of the officials of the WKA also mentioned the possibility of introducing electronic scoring equipment along the lines of that utilised in Western fencing matches. We intend to introduce electronic armour to assist in umpiring. We also intend to make kicks valid for scoring points, and also an accumulative point system to encourage positive and successive attacking. We are looking at ways to make it more interesting.
                          Kicks.. hmmm very interesting.

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                          • #43
                            I belong to a dojo that practices swordfighting and spearfighting as well as empty hand. I teach the kendo class and am learning sojutsu (yari). We also have naginata and iaijutsu. We have not yet armored up and had our kendo students spar the naginata or yari students, though we plan to. Still, I also study kenjutsu, and have got to fight against naginata.

                            However in the reaction drills we practice, I have got to fight against a naginata, tanto, niten, and other things with just a sword, using iaijutsu as much as kenjutsu or more. Iaijutsu is hard against a naginata. In real life, you could cut through the wood shaft, but with wooden weapons it's impossible. However, grabbing it below the blade is one option (not allowed of course in kendo and naginata-do). Still most naginata weilders also have a tanto, which should not be under estimated by it's length. I once studied with one guy who used a tanto and saya against swords and naginata and held his own fine.

                            I think everyone pretty much covered why kicking is not allowed in kendo, as well as strikes to the legs. However, I understand where you are coming from. In a real fight, use whatever you can. So the question is.... how do we appropriately prepare for a life or death battle without actually being in one? Believe it or not, kata practice is more than enough in most situations. Each style has something to offer. Kendo I have found teaches one how to face an opponent with no fear and build your spirit. If you defeat your opponent in spirit even before the first blow, he has no chance.

                            However, I also know that it is not enough to satisfy most people. Let me tell you of a couple excercises that I do with my fellow students and will do with my own students when they are more advanced.

                            1st: reaction drill
                            Everyone chooses some form of weapon (made of wood). This can also be done empty hand. First one person stands on the floor and everyone else forms a line. The first person in line attacks with whatever he wants and the person on the floor has to react and succeed or try again against the same attack. This should be only one attack and one reaction. Then, the sensei calls to freeze in place. You then take in the situation to see what you can do and what your opponent can do. When the sensei calls to move again, you act and try to kill each other again. This can go on as long as the sensei says, but he/she should always make sure that things don't get heated or out of control.
                            Once the battle is done, the defender stays on the floor and the next person in line tries to attack them with his/her chosen weapon and the process repeats until everyone in line has attacked them. Then, they get in line and another person moves to the floor.
                            This can get quite interesting. One time I was watching one person lose his sword against a guy with a tanto and only had his saya left. He held onto the sageo and whipped the saya towards his opponent. It hit him in the head, but luckily we use thin plastic sayas for our bokkens.

                            2: Triangle Drill
                            Three people stand in a triangle on the floor with their chosen weapons. The sensei calls out one attack. For example, kiri oroshi (downward cut). The three rei and then begin. The first person attacks the person on his left with kiri oroshi. That person quickly defends, kills the attacker, and then attacks the third person with kiri oroshi, who defends, kills the attacker, and attacks the first person. This continues for small spurts and everyone moves fast, trying to get faster and faster, though good control has to be used. The sensei has to be ready to stop things if they look to be getting heated or tired, so that control stays an issue. However, this is really fun and gives you the idea of real battle. After people get a feel for it. The sensei can call out two attacks, kiri oroshi or tsuki. Then, add a third and so on. If a person fails to succeed in defending against the attack, the sensei stops it and quickly gets the attacker to attack again until they do succeed.

                            There are a few more interesting excercises, but this post is getting rather long. Well, have fun but make sure if you do practice these, that you have a sensei around and these are recommended for higher ranks. Hope this helps ease your mind.

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                            • #44
                              just asking, out of the blue, is there a kenjitsu school somewere, to learn to fight in life and death?

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by DarthMaul
                                It is almost comical that some practioners today look apon it in a light of "spirituality" or some long lost asian "religion".
                                Which long lost religion? Buddhism and Zen are still as much alive as christian or Islam.

                                Originally posted by DarthMaul
                                But the main purpose of wielding a sword is still to either defend or kill.
                                Yes and no. The purpose change with time and different people have different reason. If someone use sword to kill enemy, that's his kendo. If someone use it for spiritual sake, that's his kendo. Who give you the right to criticize people that use it for spiritual sake?

                                Originally posted by DarthMaul
                                1. Why do Kendoka ignore their legs?
                                2. Aren't the legs a good target in a sword fight? I would argue that a full force blow to the leg would end a fight immediately and therefore meet the requirements of rewarding a point.
                                3. If Kendo is the practice of sword fighting, why does it ignore the legs all together?
                                1.It is not just kendo. many koryu kenjutsu have no kata represent leg target. In itto Ryu, men and kote are primary target.

                                2.Cutting the leg is too low for the sword, it will make you very vulnerable. Usually result in your dead not enemy.

                                3.read 2. and 3. and kendo isn't full curriculum of japanese sword fight.

                                P.S. Kendo have rules. Real sword fight have no rule.

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